The right software can help meet these challenges and exploit new opportunities, but today’s problems can’t be solved by yesterday’s IT solutions. Many practices may not have changed their basic software for many years.
For the firms that may have been using the same software suite for a decade or more - it could be holding them back. They may have kept the compliance side of things up to date, but the underlying architecture, the user experience and the way in which the software allows the practice to use data and interact with its clients may have often remained static. There are powerful actions that make a superior client experience –real-time management of each job in the firm and even online document approval for multiple approvers – implemented in the firms we classify as ‘future fit’.
Over the last 10 to 15 years many accounting firms have seen the business context in which they operate change dramatically. Cloud computing, automated workflow, exception-based processing, customer relationship management software – once the realm of big business are now available technology choices for accounting firms wanting to build and maintain a competitive edge.
Multiple sources of research all confirm one thing - clients expect best practice accountancy services. We believe it’s a great time for many firms to review their technology choices. We recently launched an interactive online tool which provides a ‘fitness assessment’ for practice software. After a rollout in the UK, we discovered that many firms in fact weren’t future fit. Automated acquisition and practice development was not possible for 62 per cent of our survey participants.
Manual onboarding of clients still occurred in over 70 per cent of firms, whilst 52 per cent of firms missed the mark on efficiency and risk management. Overwhelmingly these firms were using the cloud for automated time sheets however we know that being future fit is more than taking care of administering staff timesheets.
Here are three questions to assess whether your firm is future fit:
- Does your practice software support business growth?
- Does your practice software support efficiency and risk management?
- Does your practice software help you make money?
Of course, no one can predict what the future will hold for the accountancy profession but one thing is certain: those who plan ahead to answer yes to these questions will be in a better position. And the best time to start that process with the right technology partner is right now.